This Thursday in Art 110 at the student art gallery, I had the opportunity to see an interesting art exhibition created by the artist Laura Scattergood. Searching for an interesting art exhibition, Laura’s art caught my attention immediately because at first, the setting appeared to be someone’s home, except that there were guns and ammunition all over the place. Her art was displayed inside the Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery and her exhibition was full of symbolism that represented the increase of violence in society over the years, such as the ammunition and weapons. Without a doubt, her exhibition portrays an interesting yet serious issue that is present in today’s society. In my opinion, however, this issue has always been a problem in societies across the world, but according to Laura, it has greatly increased over the years; she argues that such things never happened or rarely happened when she was a child but that now, she sees cases of random shootings at public places through the media almost all of the time. Laura believes that a reason for the increase of violence in society can be due to the concept of individualism, which is greatly upheld in American society. Individualism can cause this violence because each individual only worries about him/herself and feels powerful, caring little about others and are most likely to not want to be part of a community. I must say that I find Laura’s argument intriguing and I cannot help but agree with most of it, though there are of course many reasons as to why violence has increased in societies all over the world.
What I liked about Laura’s art exhibition was that it did indeed provoke a feeling of tension when one entered the gallery, since there were strings that guided one to the back wall of the gallery which led to a mirror decorated by bullets. According to Laura, the string was supposed to create a strong feeling within the visitor since it forces one to a certain path and the purpose of the mirror was to make the visitor ask him/herself, “where do I fit in all of this?,” to let the art sink in instead of just entering the gallery and simply observing. I loved how Laura used plenty of symbolism in her art exhibition, such as the ammunition hidden under a carpet which represented society pushing the issue of violence away (hiding it) or the human figures painted on the gallery walls which symbolized what one shoots during shooting practice. There were also guns on a couch, or what seemed to be on a couch, since they seemed to be sown over yet their outlines were still visible.
Today’s society is so full violence that to Laura, it seems to be the norm. Out of the many art projects that Laura has done, this is the only one that deals with the idea of violence and Laura decided to do this project because of all of the violence that she saw through media that took place in public areas, where a single person unleashed his/her wrath on masses of people. It is awesome that she decided to portray a serious and morose issue through her art.
This was a unique show indeed, perhaps my favorite of the semester because everything was put together to make a problem in today’s society surface from the dark through art. I love all of the symbolism present in the exhibition and it all makes sense when one thinks about it; it was well put together and surely Laura worked hard on this art exhibition, since it took her about six months to complete. Laura is majoring in the Fiber Arts and she plans to find an internship in textile design; she has always been an artistic person and she would follow a career in the arts after discovering that the sciences, such as psychology, were not for her. As stated before, Laura believes that the amount of violence present in today’s society did not exist in her youth and when she was asked what she thought society would be like in the future, she candidly said that it looks bleak; she obviously believes that it will be even more violent than what it is now. I believe that people are growing more apart as technology is getting involved in people’s lives more than ever, and as people grow apart, unity and community will decrease, which Laura argues, can lead to violence. I hope that such is not the case and that in the future violence will decrease yet I may just be dreaming. What I found funny was that while my classmates and I were interviewing Laura, she noticed that everyone but myself were taking notes through their phones and she asked, “Do you guys write on paper anymore?” haha. It seems that Laura prefers the traditional way of doing things, as do I. This was an interesting week at the art gallery and it was a pleasure of having the opportunity to enter Laura’s art exhibition and observe and experience her art. I wish her success and happiness in all aspects of her life and may her art continue to capture the amazement of many more.